About six months ago I began to be aware of a change in the idea of what constitutes a good cup of coffee. I was probably hopelessly behind everyone else in realizing this, but I hadn't been keeping up with developments in coffee trends because I was busy drinking coffee that I really enjoyed.
When the coffee I was formerly enjoying (La Colombe Corsica) began to seem less than delicious to me, I started trying to find another source. First I spent almost $60 on a pound of Las Esmeralda Especial (apologies if I have misspelled one of the words), anticipating something glorious. When I tasted it I couldn't believe there were people who considered this a great, let alone good, cup of coffee. I wrote to the roaster to express my disappointment, and was told that their preference is for lighter, more acidic coffees. To me, that sounds like tea. I did find a miraculous Sumatra Marimau Tiger, probably the most delicious coffee I've ever drunk, but the roaster ran out of their supply and has not replenished it since.
Over the past 5 months on coffee roasters' sites I've fallen for descriptions of rich, strong coffee that will result from the "espresso roast" beans they sell, only to find, time after time, that there is a harshness and a tanginess that does not fit with my idea of what good coffee should taste like. It is always apparent just from looking at the bean that the coffee was only a medium roast, not dark. This is what espresso roast has become.
Today I found out for sure that it is all over for me and coffee. On the site www.coffeereview.com, it is stated plainly, in the July 2008 newsletter, that the trend is toward the lighter roasts and roasters do not want to produce the dark roasts now. When I complained to Ecco Caffe about the three "espresso" roasts I ordered, I was told that they could understand how their medium roast might be a shock to my system, if I'm used to dark roasts.
It's clear that my preference is no longer considered drink-worthy, so I can foresee the day when I will no longer be able to find a coffee that I enjoy. I see too that I must be in the minority, or else this trend would not be growing. This is a sad and unanticipated development.